Imagine you received a windfall bonus suddenly enabling you to fulfill your lifelong dream…a one year, round trip tour of the world. You spend six months planning every detail of your itinerary, including the days you will spend in each city, which sites to visit, which airlines to take and the amount of money you will spend in each country. When the big day finally arrives, you jet out for London and soon realize the airline has lost your luggage. Instead of enjoying England, you focus on the inconvenience and added expense of buying replacement clothes. Unplanned annoyances hold true for every country you visit. The Sistine Chapel is closed for repairs. Your wallet is stolen in Paris. You are mistakenly arrested in Saudi Arabia. Your incorrect command of the Russian language puts you on the wrong train. You fall ill in Japan. From country to country, your actual itinerary continuously strays from your detailed plans.

One year later, you arrive home exhausted and enlightened. Yes, you saw the world, but not the way you imagined. Was the trip a success or a failure? It largely depends on how you define those terms. Webster’s definitions are:

Success: a favorable result; the gaining of wealth, fame, etc.

Failure: falling short; not succeeding.

Equally important is how you view the circumstances of the trip within those definitions. If your measure of success is: “Did everything go as planned?”, the trip will be viewed as a failure. If the measure is on experiences gained, even a trip full of trials could be viewed as successful.

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